The Pluralist 4 (3):98-126 (2009)

Authors
Hugh P. McDonald
The New School (PhD)
Abstract
In this essay, I will argue for the actuality of principles. Principles are normative in that they regulate the relation of actuality and potentiality as well as operate across time, from the past and present to the future. They may also apply across space, that is, that the same principle operates in different places in the same way, for example the laws of motion. Principles mean that change follows certain regularities. I will examine the modality of principles, the relation to pluralism. I will argue negatively for the principle of principles, that is, that the world actually exhibits or contains principles. I will then argue that principles as origins cannot be accounted for by ontology. Principles are neither material nor substantial beings but both of the latter presume, as generals or “universals,” the actuality of principles. Thus principles could be considered in the category of “thirds” in Peirce. I will argue that principles also support James’s model of a “pluralistic universe” of change.
Keywords principles  norms  pluralism  ontology  actuality  universals
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DOI 10.1353/plu.0.0028
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